We have always been avid followers of interior design and renovation blogs. This month we caught up with Alice and Andre who write the blog Simply The Nest. Apart from the great name, their blog is a wonderful record of the time and hard work that Alice and Andre have invested into the restoration of a rundown period property. We chatted with Alice to find out a little more:-
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I started blogging seven years ago in 2009, when DIY blogs were first becoming popular and John and Sherry from Young House Love were still living in their first house. I wanted to create a record of all our DIY projects and share our often hard-learned experiences for the benefit of fellow renovators who might come across the blog. It’s great to look back at our old projects and marvel at how much we’ve managed to get done over the years. Without the blog, all we’d have would be a load of photos buried on a hard drive, rather than a set of before, during and after pictures along with a story explaining what, why and how.
What project are you currently writing about?
Our long term renovation of an 1875 semi-detached property in a popular leafy South Manchester residential area that we bought in 2012. It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, three reception rooms over four floors, plus a full-sized cellar and attic. The estate agent had to talk me into seeing the house we ended up buying because it wasn’t in our original area – but as soon as I walked through the door and saw the high ceilings, spacious rooms and massive garden I was sold.
What needed doing to it?
The house hadn’t been touched in about 30 years so was very outdated and shabby and required a lot of love to restore it. New kitchen and bathrooms. Restoration of the original wooden floors, staircases and woodwork. Complete redecoration throughout, including taking most rooms back to brick as the plaster was damaged throughout. Replacing the radiators (and eventually boiler) plus landscaping the front and back gardens and insulating the cellar ceiling.
What is your vision for the renovation?
This is a long-term, ten-year project. We’re currently in year five. Within the next five years we plan to completely finish the house, including loft and cellar conversions, en suite installations, and exterior landscaping. We are trying to create a comfortable, relaxing, open-plan family home filled with pattern, colour and love. We like to blend older Victorian and retro styles with a contemporary aesthetic, as demonstrated by our new extension, which combines reclaimed bricks with modern white render. I believe in ‘slow decorating’ – filling your home with treasures acquired over the years rather than furnishing it all in one go. If this means having a space on the wall waiting to be filled with the perfect antique mirror that we might find one day at a market while on holiday in the south of France, then so be it.
Was the blog difficult to set up?
Not at all – my husband bought me a SquareSpace account for my birthday and I was away
How often do you update it?
Before we had children, we posted every day. Now we post several times a month.
Has the website generated much interest?
I’m contacted regularly by people from across the UK who have come across my blog and have questions about removing lead paint, restoring Victorian floorboards, or laying decking. I’m always happy to share our experiences with anyone who gets in touch, as a way of passing forward everything I’ve learned myself about DIY and renovation through researching other blogs and websites.
Visit www.simplythenest.com to follow their progress and look out for more on Alice and Andre’s renovation experiences on our site.